Navajo Weaving: three centuries of change, by Kate Peck Kent

4265296I work as an assistant to an investigator specialized in pre-Columbian textiles, and she gave me this book so I could make a summary of it. It was, really, a very interesting reading. I never knew of Navajo productions before and, actually, I never knew anything about their history, so it was quite fascinating to understand how and why their textile productions have varied through time in the way they did, and how it was deeply related to their own idiosyncrasy as culture.

Cuentos completos 3, by Julio Cortázar

cuentos-completos-3-julio-cortazar-punto-de-lecturaUn tal Lucas – English title: A certain Lucas

Queremos tanto a Glenda – English title: We love Glenda so much

Deshoras – English title: Unreasonable hours

Individually each one of this is a book, but I read them as the third and last volume of Cortázar’s complete stories. Considering the vast work of Cortázar, every time I read one of his books I feel like I should probably know a little about the political, sociological, geographical context in which it was written. Of course, I never do that. Of course, I always feel like I’m losing some important information.

I don’t know how to talk about a book of stories. Each story is different, some are better, some not, but am I supposed to say something about each single one? I don’t think that’s how it’s done.

In a more general way, I would say that Un tal Lucas is probably my least favorite of all of his books. Not because it’s “bad”, is just that I didn’t make a connection with it. It has some highlights, but it felt “meh”. Maybe I should read it again some other time in the future.  Queremos tanto… y Deshoras have very good and memorable moments. I guess that what I enjoyed the most was that Deshoras starts with a reference about the tale that gives name to Queremos tanto… It’s a detail that would probably lose its effect if the book is not read right after the other.

I love Cortázar, and I feel sad that I finished all of his short-stories’ books. I still need to catch up on his novels and start with the latest published books that compile his correspondence (how awesome is that?), but accomplishing this milestone has a bittersweet taste.

 

La niña guerrera y otras historias reales, by Laura Ramos

1315855w300Possible English translation: The warrior girl and other real stories

This is a compilation of stories about real women from the LGTB community. Some of them are iconic within this community and others have been known outside its “borders”. What I liked about this book is the way these stories are told. Each one seems like a tale, like they’re fiction, and they are all very different. All women (or girls, because the stories are told from their childhood) are most of the time only called by their first name, so we have Lisa, Albertina, Giovanna, Ntombifuthi, Marta, Irupé. And through the reading we see them grow, we learn about their environment, the history I’ve learned from books happening around them and sometimes through them and then, when the tale ends, with the girls already turned into women, we can see what they’ve become, the real women they are, here and now. And, a few times, some stories are intertwined, and you can see Marta in Albertina’s tale and viceversa. I think it’s a lovely book, because it’s been written with love.

Der stumme Tod, by Volker Kutscher

15618813Possible English translation: The silent death

I had with this book a similar experience that I had reading another book last year. Both were books from detectives’ saga that I didn’t start from the first ‘episode’. So in both of them I found characters that were already introduced to the reader, so I always felt like I was missing something. Luckily for me, this story was way more interesting than the one I read last year. For a start, every now and then there were chapters written from the sight of an anonymous character that one could think were worthy of our attention because they might leads us to solving the case. And, yes, I believe that’s it, that was the most interesting part. The rest is quite common, a detective with bad temper, that doesn’t get along with some of his superiors, is on and off of a case about missing and then found death actresses in Berlin, during the transition between silent and talking pictures. Nothing out of this world, but good for entertainment.

1984, by George Orwell

17841055I can see Stalin, I can see Trotsky, but… where’s Lenin? Ok, yes, I admit it, the preliminary study pointed out the physical similarities between the Big Brother and Stalin and then Goldstein and Trotsky; I wouldn’t notice them for myself (maybe in a second, third, fourth reading?).

I loved this book and I hated this book. I loved it because I feel is a masterpiece, it’s really hard to put down once you’re hooked (although that took a few pages for me). The description of this society sounds so crazy but, sadly, so relatable, in a way that makes you think “Yes, this could totally happen”. And that’s way I hated it, it gets scary. It makes you like the characters, it makes you believe that there’s a way out of that society for them. It gives you hope and it maintains you skeptical at the same time. You don’t believe there is happy ending, and at the same time you know, you hope, everything’s going to turn out fine. That’s doublethink.

And, like it happened with A Clockwork orange, it made up words that where adopted in the language. I mean, “doublethink” isn’t even underlined in red, it’s a totally valid word now.

Animal farm, by George Orwell

17449456While I was reading this book I couldn’t help thinking that I really know nothing about the Russian Revolution and the beginning of the URSS, and probably the clearer concepts I have now of this matter I’ve learned them from this book. I’m afraid, though, that is a very partial vision (I can see Stalin, I can see Trotsky, but… where’s Lenin?) and I should probably make my own research and reading about the subject, don’t you think?  After all, it’s only Orwell’s point of view and, to be honest, I don’t even know where he stands. But it’s still a good starting point. I must admit that, despite the awful things that happen during the novel, I couldn’t avoid thinking of it as a “cute” story, imagining all those farm animals going around, working and talking, learning to read, and the pigs walking in two legs and wearing clothes…

Lives of girls and women, by Alice Munro

18680159I bought this book to my mother for mother’s day, and she kindly lent it to me when she finished her reading. I’ve never read anything from the author before, so I don’t really know why I chose that for my mum. Maybe I liked the cover. Maybe I liked the back-cover’s synopsis. Maybe was the “Winner of the Nobel Prize” sign it had. Maybe were all of those reasons. It’s a really good book, the kind of book that gives me a warm feeling in my chest while I’m reading it. The kind of book I don’t want to finish, I don’t want to see the end of it.

Each chapter of the book feels like a secret journal’s entry, or more like a random train of thoughts from one situation to the other and you never know when is it going to end or what’s the point of it. Or the title, what was the title of the chapter and what does it said about the content of the chapter. Everything is elusive. Each chapter is a different moment in the life of this young girl, the narrator, who explains not only the lives of the women and girls that surrounded her, but also the men, only that the male characters always seem less interesting, less rich.